A Failure To Communicate
February 11, 2011
The house is quietly talking to itself in the late hours of the
night, creaking and popping gently. Sort of reminds me of myself,
these days. Hell, it's older than I am, so I guess it's allowed to
commune with itself, as long as it doesn't get too boisterous about
The light of a single lamp shining own on the keyboard
illuminates the room. Books and tapes, DVDs and CDs sit quietly on
the shadowed shelves against the walls, waiting their turns to
entertain and inform. The TV chatters away softly in the next room.
I am alone, but not lonely.
I sit here lazily typing, and the
lamplight strikes gleaming sparkles from the synthetic gem in the
ring on my finger as my hands move. Considering the size of the
gemstone, I can't help but wish it were my real birthstone. I was
born on April 4th, and April's birthstone is the diamond. The ring
would be worth a small fortune if that stone were the genuine
The ring itself is a symbol of a sort of triumph for
me. It's a military ring that announces to anyone who cares to
examine it that I served in the Air Force in Vietnam. It has my name
engraved on one side and “Trang-Sup, Tay Ninh” on the other. That's
where I spent my year's tour of duty ‘in country', as we say.
The Vietnam Service ribbon is below the place names, and a map
of Vietnam is below my name on the opposite site of the ring. “Det.
7, 619th TCS” is inscribed inside the ring. “USA” is engraved on
both sides just before the ring curves under my finger. The words,
“US Air Force” encircle the faux diamond setting. I have forgotten
what kind of stone it is; I don't think it's a cubic zircon, though
it glints and shimmers brilliantly enough in the lamplight. It
really glitters when the sun touches it.
I bought the ring
online at a time when I weighed quite a bit more than I do now. When
it arrived in the mail, I discovered I couldn't get it on my chubby
ring finger. It had never occurred to me that fingers get fat right
along with the rest of the body. So I had ordered the same ring size
I had worn when I was some fifty or sixty pounds lighter. The
triumph I mentioned earlier is that I have managed to exercise
sufficient willpower to lose enough weight so that the ring now fits
comfortably on the ring finger of my left hand.
Of course, I
had wanted to wear it on my right hand, which is a little larger
than my left because I'm right-handed. But why quibble with this
small success? I intend to lose about twenty more pounds. Perhaps
one day, when I reach that goal, I can switch the ring to the finger
it was meant to grace. For the present, I'm happy that I can wear it
But I had not intended to write about the ring. I had
started out to write something on the IWVPA (International War
Veterans Poetry Archives) theme word for December, which is
‘miscommunication'. However, my mind wandered off on its own
business, as it seems to be more and more inclined to do as I grow
When I hold down the ‘Alt' key and left click on the
target word ‘miscommunication', a little yellow-bordered box from
Answers.com pops up on my computer screen. It informs me that
miscommunication is the “Lack of clear or adequate communication.”
Well, I swan! Who'd have thought it?
I much prefer the
GuruNet program that this one supplanted and politely turned off.
GuruNet provides a lot more information, and besides, it offers a
thesaurus as well as pictures. It's also linked to Copernic Agent
Professional. Furthermore, it seems to me that, when I was a
schoolboy, I was told that you weren't supposed to use the same word
or a derivative when giving its definition. Unfortunately,
Answers.com apparently bought out the GuruNet people and is pushing
their own (to my mind, inferior) program.
What the hell; I'm
sleepy now, so I think I'll go to bed and forget the whole thing. Is
it possible that I've managed to fail to communicate with myself? I
certainly haven't done what I initially set out to accomplish. The
warden in “Cool Hand Luke” suddenly pops into my mind, twanging
nasally, “Whut – we – have – heah... is – failyuh... to – communicate!”
Or something like that.
Oh, well! Good night.
Thurman P. Woodfork
Thurman P. Woodfork (Woody) spent his
Air Force career as a radar repairman in places as disparate as
Biloxi, Mississippi; Cut Bank, Montana; Tin City, Alaska; Rosas,
Spain and Tay Ninh, Vietnam. In Vietnam, he was assigned to
Detachment 7 of the 619th Tactical Control Squadron, a Forward Air
Command Post located on Trai Trang Sup. Trang Sup was an Army
Special Forces camp situated about fifty miles northwest of Saigon
in Tay Ninh province, close to the Cambodian border.
After Vietnam, Woody remained in the Air Force for nine more years.
Thurman P. Woodfork's site for more information
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